Recently, the State of California amended its labor code and this change will affect professional athletes. The bill, A.B. 1309, states that professional athletes (baseball, basketball, football, ice hockey and soccer players) who play for out of state teams will now be limited in their ability to file compensation claims based on cumulative or long term traumatic physical conditions.
The reason for this amendment is that the California Insurance Guarantee Fund was faced with at least $250 million in claims by athletes that were out of state, but by virtue of a slight connection to the state of CA, they were able to file a claim for workers compensation. Under the provisions of the amendment, the opportunity to file a claim will be much more limited. Bill A.B. 1309 came about due to the fact that the state’s workers compensation fund had become a popular target of out of state professional athletes. It helps to ensure that California businesses are protected from these claims, and that the state compensation funds are used for the purpose of which they were designed.
The amendment is retroactive to September 15, 2013. Any injury that occurred after that date requires an out of state athlete to demonstrate that they spent at least 20% of their playing time in the state in the year immediately preceding the date of their injury. If they cannot provide proof of that 20% threshold, then their claim will be denied.